Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rising Above the Muck and Snow

An old German saying goes: If the winter is warm, the farmer will be poor. (Yes! Us farmers will be raking it in this year) Of course the old German farmers also said, "If the rooster crows on the manure pile, the weather will change." Tell me who keeps an eye on a manure pile before daybreak.
Yes, it's cold and it's wet. What to do - go inside! The greenhouse, that is. On a sunny day, it's a solid 80 degrees under plastic. Our barn contractor, Jeff, thought I'd gone off the wagon when he caught me sowing cabbage seeds shirtless on Monday. But hey, might as well soak up the rays we've got.
Some of our first seedlings of the year have emerged: broccoli, leeks, cabbages, and various greens including arugula and swiss chard. I've recently moved all our flats to "the big house" now that we have the power of propane on our side. Soon our primary heat source, the wood-burning water stove (pictured left being miraculously lifted by Tony Ball) will be powered up. Tony installed the behemoth; we're just waiting on Duke Power to run us a line. Jeff Holderfeld (standing right of Tony) has designed and is building a beautiful barn. We are quite impressed with the progress that he and his crew have made. I've included pictures documenting the progress below the article. Thanks Jeff!

The use of our irrigation system also hinges on Duke power. (I'm hoping someone that reads this wields some power at Duke.) The lines and pump are installed, just waiting to go to work for us. On a sunny day I'm practically camped out in the greenhouse with a backpack sprayer strapped to my back. The soil surface drys out pretty quick when it's so warm, which could prolong seedling germination. So I water. It's kind of like babysitting but without the whining. Another reason I enjoy working with plants. Just kidding - about the kids.

I'm putting the polish on the first newsletter. All of you that have expressed interest should receive it in the next day or two. If you or a friend are not already on the listserve and would like to be please let me know at Also, we are open to any requests regarding seed purchase. If there's a unique edible you'd like us to grow, we'll do our best (within reason). We'll have a harvest calendar posted soon as well, so those of you wishing to purchase produce will know what we'll have available and when.
Thanks you all for your support and encouragement. Hang in there, Spring is just around the corner. Ha!

"The Grove" pictured pre-barn.